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Thread: First Time Alaska.......

  1. #1
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    Question First Time Alaska.......

    We are a group of four from Germany and are planning our first time in Alaska next summer. The last days I have been on billions of web pages and the biggest problems for me are, that on the one hand the quantity of offers are giant and on the other hand I'm uncertain to make a decision because maybe later I'll be dissapointed.........O.k I know what we want, is perhaps that what everybody is looking for, but I've thought ,if I'm not able to answer my questions by myself I ask you.....
    The problem is, that I dont't know what is better. Booking one of the 'complete packages' (Kenai, Situk etc.) or will it be better if we rent a cabin, 2-3 hours away from Anchorage (by car), and make unguided fishing. If we want to,we can rent a guide or a boat.
    I've ordered a road map, which hopefully helps me a bit to find a good location ......I am searching a cabin or lodge without all inclusive and take a look on the map to see what kind of rivers there are around (Fly fishing).
    Which of these two options should I take ?
    Does anybody have an idea where we can stay (14 days) ? Thanks Ulf

    P.S To make a long story short:
    We are are looking for a cabin or lodge, self catered ore b&b, direct river access for fly fishing (no crowds).

  2. #2
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    Default hau069

    First - I hope you have a great trip.
    Second - Anyplace you can drive there will be other people.
    Third - To really offer good suggestions we need to know when you are palnning the trip for. Timing is everything in Alaska fishing.

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    We want to come in late August or September next year (Silver Salmon).
    It isn't easy to plan such a trip because all the information I can get are from different web pages. I don't know anybody who had made a trip to Alaska and these people, from whom I can read some storys in Germany, booked packages which are unaffordable........
    Of course it will be the easiest for us take one of these packages which are offered a thousend times but we're used to plan these trips by ourself (Norway, Sweden, Ireland, Scottland).
    Thanks Ulf

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    what do you want to fish for (salmon, trout, pike?)? what style of fishing do you like (wet fly swinging, spey casting, small stream, large stream,
    nymphing, dries??)? how important is totally avoiding people? how important is fish size? how important is comforts (lodge vs. tent vs. hotel), do you want a guide (for part, for all?)? How much experience fishing does everyone have? How much experience does everyone have rowing? How important is bringing fish home? How much can you afford to spend?
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Wow....ten questions for me to answer. O.k.
    As I have allready said, we would prefer salmons (Silver), so our arrival time is August / September. Of course we are also interested in trouts or steelheads. Do you really think we have to decide this in advance? Our sufficient equipment should let us do all alternatives that we want to.
    The style of fishing should be a question of the conditions.
    Wet, dry, spey or double spey, switch and so on......I can't say if one of us really prefers one of these tactics.
    Small or large streams.......I think we would prefer more the small ones, up to 40 meters. This is a maximum size which you can fish with a double hand rod.
    The next questions I'll try to answer together. Our focus is that we want to have a nice time. We don't need to catch the biggest and greatest. We are no trophy hunters. Nobody of us needs really comfort (small cabin, self catering, no tent). The only comfort we want is not to stay in rivers where up- and downstream every 5 meter another fisher try to catch his luck.
    We are between 38 and 48 years old. Most of us are fishing since their were kids. Our limit is 3000 $ without flight from Germany.

  6. #6
    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    Basically the type of fishing you want to do dictates the time of the year you go, for trout anyway theres streamer fishing in june, dry fly fishing in nymphing in june and july and nothing but egg and flesh in august and september. Since you'd like to catch silvers you have several great options timing will dictate where you go, or where you go will dictate timing. I think one can catch silvers somewhere in this state from late july to mid november so cosider what type of other fishing opportunaties you would like, you can get into big trout, steelhead, small trout, other species of salmon, this all depends on where you go and what time you go. I ask about tents only because a wilderness float trip is possibly the best trip a fly fisherman could ask for. I'd reccomend looking at Yakutat in september, the silvers should be in, there will be a few steelhead around and you can do a fly out to the east alsek where you can catch silvers on dries. Yakutat is sort of expensive when it comes to lodging and transportation to the river, you might be able to get a forest service cabin or something though.

    Other places I'd look at:
    -Southcentral - lots of good places to fish off the road system, a few more people but this is probably the cheapest option with the most different types of fisheries, silvers peak about the 1st week of august and can be caught on the kenai untill Oct. 31 (when it closes) great fishing for rainbows, grayling, humpies, dogs, dollies, and maybe pike

    -Western AK - Expensive, kind of crowded in places, some of the best fishing in the world though, hard to do self guided unless you d a float trip run timing is early to mid august, can't beat the rainbow fishing, good pike fishing, grayling, char etc.

    -Sitka, Petersburg Ketchican, POW - Lots of forest service cabins, can be really really really wet though, wild country, pretty tough but rewarding fishing, lots of dollies and coastal cutthroats
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

  7. #7
    Member big_dog60's Avatar
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    Is that 3000 per person or total. If thats total then your going to have a hard time finding lodging and food for 2 weeks for 4 people.
    If per person that is still not a lot of money. Are people willing to do a little bit of hiking? Some times it takes a little bit to get away from the people.

  8. #8

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    Don't know if this will help but, four of us just returned from Alaska fishing August 30 - Sept 9 2007. We rented an RV in Anchorage and drove down the Kenai and fished the Ninilchik for one day, Deep creek for 2 days, then went down to the Anchor river for 3 days. We then headed down to Homer for a day and then later that evening we stopped at the Russian and fished for rainbows for a day and a half. We then stopped at Quartz creek for a couple days for rainbows and dollys. Then on to Seward for Halibut (that got rained/winded out) The whole trip ended up costing us about 2400 a piece. We had a ball and caught lots of fish.

    BUT...Some observations from an "Outsider"

    -We were from the "Southern" US and I got to say that maybe it is the long winters without human interaction but the folks in Alaska were without doubt the most rude and in-hospitable folks I have ever met. (Yep.. I been to Boston and NYC.. And I don't like to level acusations lightly.. maybe I just didn't meet the right folks). In the south we wave and say "good day" or "hi" to most anyone we make eye contact to. No one in AK does this as best I can tell. If you say hi to somebody you are lucky if they grunt at you. Most likely they just walk on past without a word.

    -The silvers fight like nothing "freshwater" you will ever hook in the lower 48. (Fly rod anyway). However, getting them to bite your fly is sometimes a tall order. The rules are you cannot "snag" a fish and keep it in AK. The locals that we met had a rather liberal interpretation of this rule and pretty much any fish they drug out was a keeper.

    -I went to Montana fishing with my brother and he often talks about "crowded" fishing on the Clark Fork or Rock Creek. Coming from the east coast when I get there I have to remind him what crowded really is. It is not fishermen every 700 yards like on the Clark Fork. IN AK this is not the case. In NC I thought I knew what crowded fishing was. I didn't. Fishing one evening at the confluence of the Russian and the Kenai rivers, I found out what it really means to 'bring your own rock'. Don't go fishing the road system expecting not to fish elbow to elbow..even in Sept.

    --With all of this said I caught the most and biggest fish of my life in AK this past trip. It was awesome... WORLD CLASS. Just make sure your expectations are in line with the real world and you won't be dissappointed.

    --If you want really "wilderness" fishing then pay the BIG bucks and fly out. Or hike out of the crowds on the well known streams.

  9. #9
    Member big_dog60's Avatar
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    Well for the most part he is correct.
    Though I am not sure about the rude part. Unfortunatly I think you have gotten a pore sampling and for that I am sorry, Alaska is a big place and some places are worse then others.
    I would avoid combat fishing if I were you. There are a lot of unofficial rules involved with that, and if you don't know them all then people will be very rude to you.
    But with that you can be sucsessful on the road system without combat fishing. some times you just have to walk a bit.

  10. #10

    Default Comparing Alaskans to NYC and Boston Residents????

    The last 2 years my wife and I have had the pleasure of spending the last 2 weeks of August in a rented motorhome seeing part of this great state. The first year we spent in Homer, Seward and on the Kenai and Russian Rivers. This year we were in Homer and Valdez as well as on the Willow Creek and the Kenai and Russian Rivers. I live in Southern NH so I have spent a fair amount of time in both Boston and NYC. I have to take exception to the rudness coment. The people I have met have been wonderful for the most part. The first year when we had little idea what we were doing people took the time to help us out and offer advice. I grew up fishing in Wisconsin, but had not fished in years and the advice was always appreciated. My wife and I had not taken a vacation in the 23 years we have been married and we had such a wonderful experience we will keep coming back as long as we can come up with ways to afford it. Even fishing with a spinning rod in an area where everyone else had fly rods we were always treated well and enjoyed the people around us. Perhaps you get out of a trip what you put into it. Prior to our first trip I spent almost a year on this forum reading everything I could as well as picking up a couple of books so I at least knew what to expect. The best part of all was on the way back this year. My wife who normally would not fish at all, and whom I was not sure would want to come back next year said said " I think we should see if we can find some inexpensive fly casting lessons. That looks like a lot of fun and we should try it next year when we come back"

  11. #11
    Member Tight Lines's Avatar
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    Default Karluk River

    You might want to look into the Karluk River (http://www.fishinginternational.com/...alaskarluk.htm)
    Had a great time there in august of 2006.

    Karluk River

    Our group of five intrepid fishermen started off with an early morning limo ride to the San Francisco airport for a 7:AM flight to Anchorage with connection to Kodiak. On that flight was Dan, Austin, and Aubrey, Dan J, and myself. Unfortunately my luggage didn’t arrive until latter that night. But in the end, all was well and I worked to pair down to the supplies needed for the next morning’s flight to Karluk and three days of fishing on the Karluk River. This was a new adventure for all of us being our fist visit to this local. We departed from the Kodiak airport aboard a twin-engine plane and made the scenic flight in about 45 minutes. Karluk is a village of about 30 rugged individuals that find the solitude of living in this remote wilderness comforting and beautiful. It’s slow pace and reassuring security are a blessing to those so inclined.

    We were greeted by a spitting rain at the gravel airstrip by our guide and host Ronny of the R&B Lodge. We were then transported to the lodge, a very comfortable doublewide trailer where we met his wife Betty who had a hearty lunch prepared for our group. After lunch Ronny went over some of the rules of fishing in this area regarding the local bears, big ones living up to every story we had herd of ursus arctos horibilis or Kodiak Grizzly Bears. A warning of interest was to be sure to bring our rods in at night, it seams that the bears have developed a taste for carbon fiber mixed with boron and they would be a broken mess if left out. As we settled in to our rooms we could hear the splashing of fish jumping in the estuary, not just a little but many jumping continuously calling come and catch me!! By noon we were in two skiffs heading to a beach in the estuary to try our luck guided by Ronny and his grandson Ronny. As we made the run to the beach the outboard acted as if it had an intermittent miss, I looked back at the motor to see fish floating on the waters surface it wasn’t the motor we were hitting fish. WOW instant sushi!

    I started off with an 8wt fly rod casting multi-colored yarn balls, the Pink salmon attacked with every cast. There were virtually hundreds of thousands of Humpies in the estuary with Sockeye lying beneath them. But it was imposable to get through the Humpies without catching them. After 3 hours casting from this beach and catching 50 or 60 fish we saw that the tide was near it’s peak and headed for the river mouth. The last 500 yards down to the mouth the river narrows and flows deeper. Here we switched to medium light spinning gear got into some Sockeye but it was still difficult not to catch a Humpy on almost every cast. At 7:PM we jumped back in the skiffs and back to the lodge for one of Betty’s great dinners, no one goes hungry around here!!

    After a restful sleep I awoke to the smell of bacon sizzling in the pan and fresh coffee on the brew. Another one of Betty’s fine breakfasts was on the table in short order. We were joined by the “Two Ronnys” for our meal. We took our time with the meal and getting ready for our day on the water because we needed to wait for the incoming tide to reach sufficient level for the run to the beach we had fished the day before.
    At 10:AM we were off to the beach we had fished from the previous day with same results, a feisty Humpy on every cast whether using a fly rod or throwing spinners.

    As we fished Ronny stood guard while a curious bear worked his way toward us to monitor our success. Although the bears in this area are used to being around humans and aren’t really looking for trouble, Ronny had a 44 mag tucked in his boot just in case. Many Humpies hit the beach that morning and soon a skiff appeared with our lunches and we sat back to revel in our surroundings. This area of Kodiak Island is devoid of trees. The landscape is covered with Alders and grasses. But the view of the rugged hills covered in lush green foliage was beautiful. After lunch we made a run up river to an area where there were more bears doing what bears will do in a river of such abundance, fishing. After watching the bears and catching a few more Humpies we headed back to the river mouth to see if we could find some more Reds. Fishing was as usual on the Karluk, fast a furious. Fish jumping everywhere and nary a cast ignored by the aggressive Pinks.

    Dan L. wandered down to the point thinking there might be some Silvers staging off the point and began casting a blue Vibrox lure into the bay. He soon hooked a dandy Halibut of around 60#, leave it to Dan to create a ledged in the little hamlet. He and his son Austin proceeded to bring two more Halibut of 20 and 30# to their ultimate end in the next few minutes on spinners. Halibut hadn’t been caught there in many years.

    By the time we went out the next morning the entire town was out Halibut fishing. We finished the day at the same location we started it, casting to the hoard of Humpies in the upper reached of the estuary from the skiffs. Caught so many Humpies I actually got board (not). Then at 7:PM it was back to the lodge for a fresh Halibut dinner with Betty’s onion recipe. Absolutely delicious!!!!


    The next morning Ronny decided to take us to a neighboring river where he thought there would be some silver action. We boarded the skiffs and headed down river to the ocean for a 20-minute ride following the rugged coastline that betrayed the awesome geology at work in this area of Alaska. As a mater of fact there are more earthquakes in Alaska than any other place in the world. After 15 minutes we came around a point and could make out the river mouth and proceeded to cruz in. Almost immediately we could see schools of Silvers. With anticipation we grabbed our spinning rods and started casting with instantaneous gratification as the eager fish grabbed our lures and started tail dancing across the water.

    We were only able to spend a couple of hours here so we could be back in time to catch our flight back to Kodiak but it was time well spent!


    Dave

  12. #12

    Default Rude Alaskans?

    Not my experience! I too am from the South and it has been my experience (five trips now) to the contrary, so much so that I am counting the days untill I retire and settle in Alaska. I have numerous encounters with Alaskans that would contradict that "rude Alaskans" statement. On last years trip ....my jeep broke down (fuel pump failure) and of course it was a long way (150 miles +) to town ... a total stranger stopped to assist me...even offered to lend me his car hauler trailer, took me to his nearby home and fed me while I was waiting for the tow truck ...never would happen in the south. Had another total stranger insist that I take his 2 wt. fly rod to use on grayling on a float trip I had planned. I was reluctant but he was insistant so I did....never would happen in the south. I patronize a particular grocery store in Palmer near the cabin I headquarter out of ...the clerk knows my name and has been there for the last five years...kinda nice as opposed to the oft indifferent attitude I get at home where the grocery clerks could care less...Alaskans rude ...I don't think so! Behave like a guest and you will be treated as one! as to the fishing...consider doing a float trip, my favorite way of experiencing some of the very best fishing on this planet...there are many to choose from and not all of them are all that expensive...it will take some homework on your part but there is a wealth of information on this forum..try the archives..Remember this..salmon fishing in Alaska is all about your timing so pay particular attention to the "when and where" . Spend some time on the Alaska Dept of Fish and Game website and when you develop a game plan don't hesitate to pick up the phone and talk to the area biologist to help answer specific questions...those people are great!

  13. #13

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    Ok Ok..

    Perhaps I went a little overboard on the rude Alaskan thing. It was just that everyone we walked past on the stream seemed like pulling teeth to get them to talk to ya. We enjoy meeting new folks and talking with them and consider this as a big part of the fun of the trip. I think we just got a bad sample of people because I have already received notes from folks on this board saying they were sorry I didn't have a better time and even offers of contacting them if when we come back.

    Now thats hospitality and I humbly apologize for my previous comments.

  14. #14
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default Take a float trip...

    If you and your buddies want to see the "real Alaska", take a float trip. I have floated two trips in NW Alaska (Noatak Preserve) and this August floated the Goodnews in SW Alaska. Two of the trips were 13+ days. There is no better way to see Alaska in my opinion. The question is which river and the time of year to go. You can bring basic camping gear, rent a raft, have a bush pilot take you out/pick you up, and have the time of your life. You decide the pace you travel down river, you decide where to camp, what fly to use, how to fish it. Control your own destiny. I couldnt imagine using a guide service or lodge. No offense, for some people it is the best option. But if you and your group have basic outdoors skills, you would be fine floating a river in Alaska. The river would be dictated by your abilities. The rivers I have floated would be perfectly safe for a relative beginner to float. There are certainly some (many) rivers in Alaska that would require more extensive experience with whitewater and such. But there are many choices of easy flowing rivers with breathtaking scenery and excellent fishing that you could take your 9 year old daughter along. This is a bit off subject, but if you want more info/insights, send me a private message or email at danattherock@hotmail.com . I would be happy to tell you all I know about it. We have gone in August each time. We found solitude on two of the trips that is hard to beat. Floated two rivers up in the Noatak Preserve and never saw another person. One trip was 7 days and the other 14 days. Never saw anyone. That was the best part of the trip. Grayling and dolly vardon were the fish up in NW Alaska. We got lots of silvers in SW Alaska along with some rainbows and dollies. Depends on what you want. The dollies in NW Alaska are the biggest in the state (by far). My wife caught one that was over 10 lbs up in the Noatak area. If interested, shoot me an email. The logistics/planning are easier than you might think if you know how to go about it and who to contact. Took me a while to figure that out. For the budget you mentioned, and your wanting solitude, a float trip is the perfect answer in my opinion.

  15. #15
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    Default alaska friendlyness

    I nly want to ad that a few years ago I went to Alaska will return next summer and the folks I ran into were nothing but the best and friendliest I have run into in a long time. they say it is "Minnesota Nice" but Alaska has us beat in my humble opinion anyhow . Had great fishing outof Fairgbanks area but was only really going for grayling.
    tom

  16. #16

    Default

    just curious danatherock:

    did you try the middle, or the main, goodnews? and if the middle, how were the water levels and when did you go?

    thx,

    stevesch

  17. #17
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    Default

    Hau, check PM

  18. #18
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default Main fork...

    We floated the main fork from Goodnews Lake down. About 55 miles. Great scenery and the fishing was spectacular in spots. You know how it is, you float a river, then think of all the opportunities you missed. We floated by some prime spots. Hind site is 20/20. Beautiful place and easy float. Ran the Ally pack canoe on a few rocks and had to make one small repair. But no rapids, sweepers, or any other hazards to speak of. It is just hard to fish and paddle the boat straight. The fishing is very good on the Goodnews. That made it hard to give the attention to the paddling at times. We will definately go back. Perhaps a July 4th trip for kings. Having never been but once, I cant speak much on water levels. Plenty of water on the main fork. I did speak with area biologist in Dillingham before our trip, and he suggested conditions were "normal" and I did hear from a guy who went on the middle fork about the time I was on the main (late August) and he said they had some shallow spots, walking the rafts a few times, but always had enough water to walk the raft. Only a few spots from what I remember and they caught lots of fish as well. Some good rainbows particularly he mentioned. I would imagine the middle fork gets less pressure for sure, and that the fishing is slightly better on the main. But I really dont know. Piecing that together from tidbits of info over the last 8 months or so. We only saw 3 other groups in the 13 days we spent on the Goodnews. I thought it would be worse to be honest with you. A wonderful part of the state to visit. The nearby Kanektok is on my to do list as well. Heard lots of good things about it too.

  19. #19

    Default rent a motor home

    Hey guys, everywhere you go, lodges included will have people. Even if your rent a helicopter, there will be people. You have people from all the world, not Alaskans, but others, opening lodges and guiding here.

    My suggestion is this. Rent a motor home in Anchorage. Hire a local guide for one day on the roads going north and another for a day going south. Learn from the guide and do what he/she says. You can cook, rest, warm up and sleep in the motor home.

    You don't need a boat, but that helps. There is plenty of great fishing if you hike. Beautiful Bavarian type hiking too. Wildlife abounds.

    Think it over. Don't get taken by someone who isn't even from here trying to make a dollar (or Euro) off you. Enjoy the falling value of the dollar. As soon as we get rid of this punk as president, the value will go back up. It's not just the rest of the world that doesn't like him...

    Best of luck. Have a wonderful time.

  20. #20

    Default

    Was wondering what you might know about fishing for steelhead/cutthroat out of Petersburg. We are planning a trip at the end of April/ beginning of May. Any recommendations about creeks, flies, or any thing else. Also, thing about black bear hunting. Anything would help. Thanks

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